Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President Isha Johansen has been acquitted on all counts of corruption by a court in Freetown.
She was acquitted by Justice Reginald Fynn of all corruption charges. Also acquitted is the SLFA’s Secretary General Chris Kamara.
They had been suspended from the SLFA. The charges were brought up in October 2017 by former Anti-Corruption Commissioner Ady Macauley. There were 11 charges in total on misappropriation focusing on the sum of $50,000 given to the SLFA by the African Confederation.
This acquittal means that Johansen and Kamara can resume their roles at the SLFA. It also means the FIFA ban against Sierra Leone will be lifted. It also means that new elections can be held for the SLFA leadership.
Johansen and co. have held their posts since August 2013.
Her acquittal, along with SLFA General Secretary Christopher Kamara, paves the way for the lifting of a ban from global football.
Football’s world governing body, Fifa, suspended Sierra Leone in October last year due to the third-party interference in the running of the SLFA,
Soon after the suspension, Fifa said it would “wait for the completion of the trial before further measures can be considered, including the lifting of the suspension, if deemed appropriate.”
The ban came after the country’s anti-corruption commission (ACC) set aside Johansen and Kamara and handed over control of the SLFA to Vice-President Brima Mazola Kamara and Assistant Secretary General Abdul Rahman Swarray.
The ACC says that under Sierra Leone law, both Johansen and Kamara must vacate their posts until their case on corruption-related charges concludes.
Fifa always maintained that it would only recognise Johansen as the SLFA President.
The original corruption charges against the pair were drastically reduced from ten counts to three, and from four to three for Kamara.
Johansen and Kamara have always denied any wrongdoing.
Sierra Leone’s ban saw them disqualified from the qualifying campaign for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.